Often the startup community attaches itself to buzzwords. We all know them. Growth hacker, lean, gamification, pivot, MVP, viral, ninja, disruptive, etc. I, and you, have been guilty of using them. These terms are not bad by nature and most have real meaning behind them. However, often they start becoming ubiquitous terms that lose their meaning and are sensualized by those using them. I have a new one to add to the list – Hustler. Click to continue »
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I have been neglecting this blog way too long and it is time to get back in to it. I had a nice reminder by someone today who mentioned that I haven’t updated it for a while. Having one reader was enough encouragement to put a post together!
This is going to be a short one, but answers the question I probably get asked the most by people, specifically entrepreneurs. What does a VC look for in a startup to make an investment? Click to continue »
This is probably one of the most common phrases you hear from venture capitalists. It has become the de facto phrase from an investor that really isn’t interested in your startup, but wants to let you down easy. I make a conscious effort to avoid taking this backdoor, but I know that I have been guilty of it as well. Click to continue »
There has been a lot of discussion recently on the changing landscape of venture funding and what it is leading to. I thought that it would be worth digging into this a bit and, as most of the discussion and data is from the United States, put a Canadian spin on it as well. Click to continue »
You may have already heard the news – Canada is getting a new tech accelerator. I am extremely excited to be working with the team behind GrowLab and the amazing group of mentors, investors and supporters who have committed to building something pretty sweet here in Canada. I have had the opportunity to work with Boris (previously my boss!), Debbie, Jason and Leonard in the past and have a tremendous amount of respect them. But, enough about the news, lets talk accelerators. Click to continue »
I had the extreme privilege to head east last week and join up with my iNovia teammates to lend a hand in hosting Accelerate Montreal with the C100. What a phenomenal couple of days! Many C100 members were up from south of the border and the three headliners – Brad Feld, Howard Lindzon and Dave McClure – did not disappoint. Click to continue »
Why is this song in my head?
Time and time again I get the privilege of meeting very early-stage entrepreneurs who fall victim to the myth that advisors add significant value to their company. Bull. In fact, I would argue that they devalue your company and here is why.
As my colleague at iNovia, Karam, so adeptly quoted Paul Graham:
“An advisor is just somebody who doesn’t believe in you or your idea enough to invest in it.”
I was deeply moved yesterday when I read Vivek Wadhwa’s post A Better Formula for Economic Growth: Connecting Smart Risk Takers. He directly dispels the theory of clusters, research parks, university tech commercialization programs and every other top-down approach to create innovation and entrepreneurship. I highly recommend you check it out.
I completely agree with this notion and started thinking about what entrepreneurship really is and how to build a striving tech eco-system in a given area. Click to continue »
This past weekend Chris Dixon wrote a blog post titled “Builders and Extractors” that resonated with me more than almost anything I have read before. For about the past 10 years I have been passionate about this same topic and have explained my position to people countless times, of course, not nearly as articulated as Chris was able to.
About 10 years ago, when I was in my 2nd year of university, an opportunity came to me from a friend of a family member (that should be the first warning sign) of an amazing investment opportunity supposedly leveraging debt instruments and bank lending ratios to produce amazing returns. Yes, it did turn out as sketchy as it sounds. However, I learned a ton about myself and those around me through this experience. Click to continue »
Over the past few weeks I have had 3 separate run-ins with companies in “Stealth Mode”. It is worth noting that these companies are all in spaces where their technology is not patentable and they are going to be focusing on consumer internet.
Over the past couple of years I have become extremely turned off of launching a company with this approach. The first thing that has to be realized is that whatever the idea might be, many other people have the exact same idea at the exact same time. It is also a little obnoxious to think that your idea is so good that everyone else will drop whatever they are doing and go after it if they learn about what you are doing. This is nicely summarized in the TechCrunch post – Get Over Yourselves: Nobody Cares About Your Secrets. Click to continue »